Hoverjets, also known as hoverbikes (sometimes spelled as two words), are a type of personal hovercraft used by International Rescue to traverse bad terrain and/or when the situation requires efficiency.
Attached to a driver's seat, by a beam which the driver puts their legs either side of, is a control console which holds satellite-linked communications equipment and ergonomically-simplified controls for steering. Protruding upwards from this is a single-handed power-assisted steering column, at the end of which is a red switch for firing missiles. A single hoverjet can hold at least five missiles - kept at the vehicle's very front, and fired from a launch tube located there. Two underside air intakes are also located here. Above the missiles is a forward headlamp, and behind is a forward-thrust turbofan; when used in conjunction with the artificial gravity generator, this gives the hoverjet lift. The localised artificial gravity generator is used for hoverjet stability and a primary forward-thrust turbine which has a compressor.
Each hoverjet can accommodate one driver and one passenger; with both seats padded and including seat-belts for safety. Directly below the driver's seat are some cooling and forward-thrust vents. Underneath the passenger's seat are some cooling vent pipes and a variable angle support stanchion for the rear turbofan that incorporates a multi-directional steering nozzle. Here is also a left-hand turbofan and a rechargeable fuel cell which is also under the same seat. Right at the back end of the vehicle is both a left and right-hand stabilising fin.
- Fuel cell capacity: 400 hours
- Top speed: 80 mph
- Length: 7 feet
- Power Source: an electric turbine motor powered by a fuel cell driving force and aft turbo fan in conjunction with localised artificial gravity generator
- Seating capacity: 2 (1 driver and 1 passenger)
- Width: 3 feet
Hover Bikes in Use
Vault of Death
Unable to use the Mole - and acting on a useful tip from their grandmother - Alan and Virgil use their hoverjets to travel through the long-unused tunnels of The London Underground, to successfully reach the Bank of England, where an employee's become trapped in the vault...
Attack of the Alligators!
Alan faces mortal peril when he's forcibly thrown from his hoverjet, after crashing into a tree - with a giant alligator in hot pursuit...
City of Fire
While Alan and Vigil travel down a rickety mine-shaft to rescue the trapped Williams brothers, Scott takes to his hoverjet to chase after the escaping Hood...
Virgil lands Thunderbird 2 near a wooded area and takes to his hoverjet, so that he can follow the Hood; but the Hood gives him the slip, by stealing an aircraft...
Martian Invasion also features the only time someone other than the Tracy brothers is seen to use a type of hoverbike: special-effects man Brian, a member of the sci-fi film Martian Invasion's production crew.
The only known cutaway appeared in the Redan comic issue No.10.
- Three hoverjets are stored aboard Thunderbird 2. Two more are kept inside Thunderbird 1's cargo bay, along with Scott's Mobile Control.
- As noted in the photos above, hoverjets come in at least two colors (red and blue).
- In the cutaway drawing below (from the Haynes Thunderbirds Manual), the hoverjets can be seen stored in a drop-down storage bay (red arrow), underneath Thunderbird 1.
Very little merchandise has been released over the years that include the hoverjets. The following is a list of what is known to have been released:
- Vivid Imagination: Attack of the Alligators set was released in 1999. It included a pair of hoverjets piloted by removable Scott and Alan figures, and a plastic alligator.
- Takara Models: Scott Tracy on hoverjet. Released in Japan 2002. Large display model. Virgil Tracy on a hoverjet. Released in Japan 2002. Large display model.
- System Services: John Tracy on hoverjet: Released in Japan 1998. Display model.
- Robert Harrop: Virgil Tracy on hoverjet. Released in 2013 a limited edition of only 250. Code TB18.
- Best of Thunderbirds Redan Comic No. 5
- Best of Thunderbirds Redan Comic No. 5